In an effort to inform families, Geri Esposito and Jennifer Kenny, the Roxbury Township district student assistance coordinators, held a Roxbury Township Public Schools parent presentation in October at Eisenhower Middle School with Timothy Shoemaker, the U.S. National DARE Officer of the Year.
“Due to the opioid crisis and the continued increase in marijuana use we believe that the parents need to be educated, so we arranged for parents to receive information on drug prevention to help identify the signs of drug use,” explained Kenny.
More than 50 families turned out to get informed, see hands-on displays, and discover secrets of raising drug-free children and teens.
“The purpose was to educate families on the types of drugs available and how they are being used,’’ Shoemaker said. “Parents must be educated on drug use and prevention. Unfortunately, most parents are unaware of what is out there.”
Shoemaker presented an animated and riveting presentation that left some feeling scared, hopeless and in disbelief about the subjects covered, like the types of drugs accessible on the market and items that can be in plain sight, but disguised as something else that children have access to.
He had on display more than 100 items that are used to conceal drugs or use drugs, some of the basics we’re all familiar with are vapes and electronic cigarettes. Other items he showed that weren’t as conspicuous were soda bottles with false bottoms, hair brushes with stash compartments, fake batteries that can be opened but still work as a battery, and even clothing and shoes readily available on the market with hidden compartments.
With a unique background as a police officer, DARE instructor, and professional trainer with 100s of hours of drug-related training, Shoemaker has seen firsthand the effects of drug abuse and the need to train children as well as adults to be on the lookout for signs and individuals in need.